Nexus 6 launch day has finally arrived. Google’s shiny new pure Android flagship from Motorola is widely available to purchase. The question is: Should you upgrade?
Before we get to that ultimate question, let’s review the known details about the Nexus 6. Google’s latest flagship ships with Android’s newest operating system, 5.0, called Lollipop, which by all accounts is a gorgeous wonder to behold. The Nexus 6 sports a whopping 5.96-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (493 PPI), powered by a 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 processor with 3GB of RAM, 32 or 64GB of internal storage and a 3,220 mAh battery. Like current Motorola phones it is water-resistant thanks to a nanocoating applied to the internal components. The Nexus 6 boasts front facing stereo speakers, a 13 MP rear camera with autofocus, optical image stabilization and the ability to shoot 4K video at 30 fps, along with a 2 MP front camera.
With the specs out of the way, I can’t stall any longer. I’ll be honest, this device is going to be a very polarizing one. For every reason to upgrade, I have an almost opposite reason not to plunk down your hard-earned cash, from the price to the OS to the specs, to the features, and even to the size of the phone itself. The Nexus 6 is simultaneously an awesome beast of a phone and a giant, possibly overpriced mistake of a device. And with that in mind, let’s jump in to why you should, or shouldn’t, upgrade to the Nexus 6.
First, let’s tackle the size of this Motorola monster. The device was given the nickname of Shamu for a reason. Smartphone manufacturers have done an admirable job in putting large screens on phones with surprisingly small footprints. But there’s no disguising this: the Nexus 6 is a HUGE phone. That 5.96-inch screen is attached to a body that is 6.27 inches tall, 3.27 inches wide and 0.40 inches thick. That’s a large device no matter which way you look at it.
It’s half an inch taller than the HTC One M8, one of the tallest flagships out there. It’s also taller, wider, thicker and heavier than either of the two arguably most popular phablets out there, the Samsung Note 4 and the Apple iPhone 6 Plus.
Buying this phone means ditching the concept of one-handed use unless you’ve got hands the size of Marques Brownlee, aka MKBHD. If phablets are your thing or you’re ready to jump to two-handed use, you’ll likely love the Nexus 6, its curves and its understated design. If the convenience of one-handed use isn’t something you’re willing to give up, look elsewhere for your upgrade.
Once the shock of the idea that the Nexus 6 would be a phablet wore off, the next gut punch for Nexus fans was the Motorola device’s price. Off-contract from Google through the Play Store or online from Motorola, the phone costs $650 for the 32GB model, a whopping $300 more than last year’s LG Nexus 5. Tack on an extra $50 for the 64GB model.
Outrageous, you say? In the context of what we had come to expect from Nexus devices, perhaps. In one year, the Nexus line has morphed from a near-impulse buy off-contract to a serious investment. But in the context of other flagships — and especially phablets — it’s not entirely out of line.
Here’s a quick look at approximate off-contract pricing of other flagships and phablets:
|Motorola Moto X (2014)||$499|
|Motorola DROID Turbo||$599|
|Sony Xperia Z3||$630|
|Samsung Galaxy S5||$649|
|HTC One M8||$670|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 4||$700|
|iPhone 6 (16GB)||$649|
|iPhone 6 (64GB)||$749|
|iPhone 6 Plus (16GB)||$749|
|iPhone 6 Plus (64GB)||$849|
Stacked up against the prices of many of these phones, the Nexus 6 doesn’t look so outlandish. But if you were hoping to pay old Nexus prices, you’ll need to consider a 2013 flagship rather than this year’s slab of pure Android. If you just can’t shell out $650 for a phone and your budget falls between $500 and $600, the Moto X, G3 and Droid Turbo are more than solid options.
Fortunately, off-contract isn’t the only way you can pick up a Nexus 6. Returning this year are carrier models. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will all carry the Nexus 6 with varying options to pay for it. Verizon and US Cellular haven’t released their plans as of yet.
AT&T is taking pre-orders online and in retail stores, offering the 32GB Nexus 6 for $682.99 off contract or $249 on contract. AT&T also has three Next plans to choose from: Next 24 at $22.77 per month, Next 18 at $28.46 per month, or Next 12 at $34.15 per month.
Sprint will offer the 32GB Nexus 6 beginning Friday for $696 off contract or 24 monthly payments of $29 with its Easy Pay pricing.
T-Mobile on Tuesday announced it was pushing back pre-orders a week to Nov. 19. The Nexus 6 will be available for 24 montly payments of $27.08.
Motorola’s Nexus 6 will be the first device to ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop. Google’s newest operating system looks beautiful with Material Design and its gorgeous animations. Google has also said devices with Lollipop should run smoother and enjoy better battery life. What’s not to like? But the Nexus 6 won’t be the only device running Lollipop soon. Motorola has already started updating the Moto X 2014 and Moto G 2014 and has promised the 2013 Moto X and 2013 Moto G will get Lollipop as well. LG has said it will begin rolling out Lollipop as an over-the-air update to G3 owners beginning this week and has promised G2 owners that they’ll be getting Lollipop in the future as well. And Samsung, Sony and HTC are all hard at work to bring Lollipop to their devices. Finally, the previous two Nexus phones, the LG Nexus 4 and 5, either have or will soon get updated.
A QHD screen, Snapdragon 805, 3GB of RAM and a a 3,220 mAh battery are top-notch specs. Upgrading to this phone for a two-year commitment shouldn’t be too painful with worrying that the specs won’t be future-proof.
But the Nexus 6 isn’t the only device to sport a ridiculous screen resolution, the latest processor, a boatload of RAM or a big battery. And it also doesn’t support microSD storage or have the ability to swap out the battery.
And one last strike against its being future-proof: Despite Lollipop being the first Android OS to support 64-bit processors, the Nexus 6 does not have a 64-bit processor. Could the next major release of Android in a year or two leave the Nexus 6 unable to upgrade its operating system?
The Nexus 6 boasts a nice collection of top-notch features: a 13MP camera with OIS, front facing stereo speakers and Qi wireless charging. A nice lineup but also nothing a notch above other flagships. The Sony Xperia Z3 (and the Z2 for that matter) have more megapixels. The LG G3 has laser autofocus. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and Sony’s flagships are water-resistant. HTC’s One M8 still has the best speakers in the business with its BoomSound. The Note 4 is arguably the best phablet with several unique software features. And most phones have some way to get Qi wireless charging now a days.
The bottom line
There are a bunch of reasons to pick up a Motorola Nexus 6. And just as many to pass it by for something else. If you want a premium phablet running pure Android and flagship pricing doesn’t concern you, the Nexus 6 is bound to be a perfect buy. If you prefer your phone to be a frequent one-hand device with good specs and a price tag that won’t require pawning off your possessions, there are a lot of better options.
So there you have it. I’ve laid it all out for you. Now it’s time to decide. To upgrade or not? Good luck.
For more news and details about the Motorola Nexus 6, be sure to check back with iTechTriad.